In our study of Esther chapter five, we look at the struggle between grace and pride. This is the same struggle that has been going on since the beginning when Satan rebelled against God.
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.
We saw the preparation of Esther and the Jews of Susa in chapter 4. We see that on the third day Esther goes to the king. We see that she put on her royal robes and this is a picture of each of us clothing ourselves in the blood of Jesus Christ before we go to meet the King.
When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
What a beautiful picture of grace that we see in this verse. By the law, Esther should have been taken out and killed for approaching the king without being requested. Instead, the king offered her a pardon by holding out his scepter. God does the same thing for each of us and all we have to do is to accept His gift of life. Just as there was nothing that Esther could do to save her life, there is nothing that we can do but accept the gift.
Then the king asked, 'What is it Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.'
The king knew that something was bothering Esther and so he asked her about it. He offered her anything she wanted up to half of the kingdom. We have even more riches when we come to Christ as we are heirs with Him of everything.
'If it pleases the king,' replied Esther, 'Let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.'
Esther hesitated in that she did not boldly ask for the king to save her people. This is a picture of what we sometimes do as Christians. God has promised us that He will do for us whatever we ask as long as we ask in faith but we hesitate just like Esther did here.
'Bring Haman at once,' the king said, 'so that we may do what Esther asks.' So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, 'Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.'
The king immediately sent for Haman and they attended the banquet that she had prepared. Once again, he knew that she had not told him her problem and so he asked her about it.
Esther replied, 'My petition and my request is this: If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king's question.'
Esther still hesitates even though the king has repeatedly told her that he would give her up to half of the kingdom. Many times we do the same type of thing with God as He has promised us many things and instead of confidently asking Him for what we need we hesitate and try to do it on our own.
Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king's gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai.
Haman left the banquet on top of the world but when he saw Mordecai his anger came out again. In spite of the death sentence hanging over him, Mordecai did not cower in fear or bend to Haman's will but still he trusted in God and His deliverance.
Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home. Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.
Now we see the pride coming out as Haman went home and gathered everyone to hear how great he was. He boasted of his wealth, family, and his job and promotion by the king. We may easily see how he is bragging it up but we have to ask ourselves if we do the same thing at times. If we do, then we must repent and ask God for forgiveness as pride in ourselves is not of faith and does not come from God.
'And that's not all,' Haman added. 'I'm the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.'
Haman not only brags about what he has and his position but he brags about who he knows. The same thing happens today as many will do anything to be associated with someone who is rich or famous as they think it makes them look better. Really, the only time that it matters who you know is whether you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
'But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate.'
Haman was not satisfied with all of the things that he boasted about because he was consumed by hate. Contentment is a gift from God while hatred is a curse of the devil. With God you can have peace and contentment but there will be no place for hatred in your life.
His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, 'Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy.' This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the gallows built.
His wife and friends told him to have a huge gallows built and to hang Mordecai from it. They wanted it to be seventy-five feet tall which is much higher than needed so that everyone would be able to see what happens when you mess with Haman. Because of his pride and hatred for the Jews (anti-semitism), he gladly had it built.